Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Nacho Libre - Reviewed by the Five Paragraph Bitter Film Critic

It's hard to be bitter about a movie if, after watching it, you're not bitter. Perplexed. Bewildered...I don't know. Definitely not bitter, but not joyous. For the purposes of this review, I am the Five Paragraph Confused Film Critic.

Nacho Libre is a movie that simply refuses to be classified. It's fussy, like a toddler fussing about eating brussel sprouts. It's not a Napoleon Dynamite clone, though you can definitely tell that both films come from the demented mind of Jared Hess. It's not a Rocky clone, though it has elements from Sly Stallone's classic film. It might have a smidge of Rushmore and even a dab of the old spaghetti westerns.

The film follows Nacho (Jack Black), a friar who works as a cook at a Mexican orphanage, and his adventures in local wrestling. He teams up with Esqueleto (Hector Jimenez), a 110-pound, dripping wet street youth with a disdain for orphans and religion, to form a highly-unlikely wrestling tag team. Nacho uses the money to buy better food for the orphans, and sharper clothes, all the better to woo the endearing Sister Encarnacion (Ana de La Reguera). Shame those pesky vows of celibacy get in the way of a budding romance.

Much like Jim Carrey in the 1990s, Jack Black is the 2000s wild comedy guy. He will do anything for a laugh, from wearing children's sized sweatpants to flinging himself around in ridiculous poses. He sings, he talks like Ricardo Montalban, he gets his ass beat by midgets. He shows off his wildly untoned body off at any time. He ain't Brad Pitt in Fight Club, but more like Meatloaf in Fight Club. He is the star of the movie, with Jimenez playing a great supporting role, but the rest of the cast basically looks stupified and tries to stay out of Black's way. He is Nacho, and it's hard to imagine any actor other than Will Ferrell or an Ace Ventura-era Jim Carrey pull this roll off. (And don't mention Chris Farley, because, while he would have been fine, he's,

Nacho Libre is exactly like Napoleon Dynamite in one way - you either laughed hysterically at it, or you scratched your head and wondered if you're suddenly too old for teen movies. Similarly, you're either a Jack Black fan, or you're not. Unwittingly, you will find yourself saying one of the lines from the film, or talking like Nacho. The film shows a Mexico that is dusty, dirty, pretty, poor, and where most people are funny-looking. The movie *IS* entertaining, but I can't tell if it's good. It is wildly unique, and for that, Hess and Black deserve credit, but, this might be one of those films that require a substance addiction to really enjoy.

6 out of 12 Whammies! I was entertained (1 Whammy!), I laughed many times (2), I got a kick out of the Mexican orphans (3), the soundtrack was fun (4), I like Jack Black (5) and the nun was hot (6). I didn't give Whammies! for Jack Black being a little TOO Jack Black (1), the "too weirdness" of it all (2), the dust and dirt everywhere on the screen made me want to take a bath (3), rather mean depiction of Mexicans (4), rather mean description of Catholics (5), rather strained story (6) and the guilt I felt for looking at a hot nun (7). The Five Paragraph Bitter Film Critic went to Catholic school for too long to avoid that guilt. Nuns ain't supposed to be hot.

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